What Is the Life Expectancy After a Ministroke?

Medically Reviewed By Susan W. Lee, DO
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Research suggests a person’s life expectancy may decrease by 4% in the year following a ministroke. However, life expectancy after a ministroke can vary depending on several factors, such as your overall health. Ministrokes are also known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). They cause temporary blockages in the blood flow to the brain. These blockages can be brief, but they are still medical emergencies. However, prompt and effective medical treatment can improve your outlook.

This article looks at life expectancy after a ministroke, factors that may affect it, and outlook for the condition. It also discusses stroke prevention and answers some frequently asked questions about outlook after a ministroke.

Life expectancy after a mini-stroke

A group of older adults stand in a park and stretch their arms in synchronization.
McKinsey Jordan/Stocksy United

As ministrokes are temporary blockages, they typically do not cause permanent damage. However, they may still increase your risk of experiencing damage and other complications, which can sometimes be fatal.

Mini-strokes can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. They are also associated with an increased risk of stroke. A 2022 review suggests that the risk of having a stroke within 3 months after a ministroke is about 20%. About half of these may occur within 2 days after experiencing the ministroke.

Because of the risk of stroke, having a ministroke may reduce your 1-year survival rate by up to 4%. This means the chance of living for 1 year after a ministroke may be 4% lower than if you did not experience a ministroke. 

Additionally, the survival rate may decrease by up to 20% after 9 years following a ministroke.

Other complications of a ministroke can include:

Research also suggests that the risk of experiencing a stroke, heart attack, or death 10 years after a ministroke can be as high as 43%.

Read more about recognizing symptoms and first aid for stroke.

While the outlook can be positive, it’s important to seek emergency treatment

Call 911 for any suspected strokes, including ministrokes. Emergency treatment can help reduce the risks and improve your outcome.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ministrokes typically last a few minutes. Although in some cases, they can last for hours. Symptoms of a ministroke can also resolve on their own, and some people experience a full recovery. Due to this, many people do not seek treatment after a ministroke.

However, without effective treatment, the risk of serious complications increases. Additionally, the symptoms of ministrokes and strokes can be very similar. Because of this, it may not be possible to tell which you are having.

Life expectancy by age

Age can be a significant factor in the outlook of a ministroke. However, recent research is limited regarding how ministrokes affect different age groups.

One 2011 study suggests that ministrokes may have a minimal effect on life expectancy for people younger than 50. By contrast, the effects may be more significant for people over the age of 65.

An older 2008 review found that life expectancy after a ministroke can differ depending on age and sex assigned at birth. The results included the following:

AgeSurvival time after a ministroke for people assigned female at birthSurvival time after a ministroke for people assigned male at birth
60–69 7.4 years6.8 years
70–79 6.4 years5.4 years
80 years or older3.1 years1.8 years

Estimations of life expectancy can vary

It is important to remember that figures on risk and life expectancy are estimates based on previous medical studies.

Additionally, life expectancy estimates may develop since the older research was conducted.

Talk with your doctor about the outlook for your specific condition.

Stroke risk

While most people don’t experience significant damage after a ministroke, it can increase your risk of stroke.

A scoring system known as the ABCD2 score can help you evaluate your risk of stroke after a ministroke. It works by assigning points to each risk factor. You then add up the points for factors you experience to calculate your overall risk.

The letters “ABCD” represent the first letter of each risk factor:

A for agebeing older than 601
B for blood pressurehaving systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or more or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or more1
C for clinical featuresexperiencing speech impairments without weakness1
C for clinical featuresexperiencing symptoms of one-sided weakness2
D for diabeteshaving diabetes1
D for duration of symptomshaving a ministroke that lasts for 10–59 minutes1
D for duration of symptomshaving a ministroke that lasts for 60 minutes or more2

If your score is less than 4, you may have a 1% risk of experiencing a stroke within 48 hours after a ministroke. If your score is 6–7 points, this risk may be closer to 8%.

Being aware of the risk of stroke can help you seek prompt and effective treatment. If you have questions about your stroke risk or treatment, contact your doctor for advice.

Factors that affect outlook

Some factors may increase the need for hospitalization or the risk of complications and death due to a ministroke. These factors include:

  • treatment effectiveness and access to healthcare
  • your overall health
  • smoking tobacco products
  • having another cardiovascular condition
  • not taking prescription statins
  • the severity of the ministroke
  • whether you experience any other complications

Stroke prevention

Some cases of ministrokes can be preventable with lifestyle changes. Additionally, around 80% of strokes may be preventable with similar methods.

Prevention methods can include:

  • eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in salt and processed foods
  • exercising regularly
  • quitting smoking if you smoke
  • limiting or avoiding alcohol
  • managing any underlying health conditions by:
    • following your prescribed treatment
    • contacting your doctor regarding any new, persistent, or recurrent symptoms of illness
    • contacting your doctor regarding any questions about your health

Learn more about how to prevent strokes.


A person may experience a 4% decrease in life expectancy in the year following a ministroke. This is because ministrokes can increase your risk of stroke and other complications, such as heart attack.

Life expectancy after a ministroke can vary depending on individual factors. These include your overall health, access to treatment, and whether you experience any complications.

Emergency treatment and long-term lifestyle changes can help reduce your risks and improve your outlook.

Contact your doctor for advice about your specific condition.

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Medical Reviewer: Susan W. Lee, DO
Last Review Date: 2023 Mar 16
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